Today’s Inside Higher Ed has a story on “Liberal Arts I: They Keep Chugging Along” (see http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/10/01/connor) continues the strand I have been pushing in this forum for some weeks — where is higher education heading and what programs will live into the 21st century?
Connor & Ching’s central point is that there’s been no substantial loss of majors in the humanities, citing numbers from various sources including the Modern Language Association, as the number of “job related” majors has grown. They see this as showing sustained health.
But C&C cite David Shulenburger of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities who says he does not “know of any public universities weakening their liberal education requirements.”
He hasn’t done his research: PASSHE has.
If you missed it, the Board of Governors in July lowered the liberal education requirements in every bachelor’s degree. They didn’t make the drop from 48 to 40 general education hours a mandate, but they lowered the minimum. I know of one institution that is already looking at changing their requirements; if I know of 1, then want to bet there are 5?
It’s good to be on the cutting edge. (he says ironically)
According to C&C, the birdseye view of the humanities is healthy. We all watch with concern in case PASSHE, through retrenchment and program reviews with arbitrary graduation standards, may do more harm than good.
I’ll keep pushing these articles, with some comment, out. At Legislative Assembly last Saturday, I pointed out that Ken and I seem to have fallen into roles as blog commentators — he’s identifying the details of the workings of the state system, while I’m pulling in the talk about higher ed from a broader context. It’s funny that we’ve taken those roles, since I am as fired up about the number of managers in the system as Ken is (ok, maybe not AS fired up — if you know Ken, he has a tendency to get fired up), and he’s at least as interested as I am in the nature of our universities in the near and far future.
Have a good weekend